The Ultimate Airtable vs. Coda Evaluation Guide in 2024

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The Ultimate Airtable vs. Coda Evaluation Guide in 2024

I've been using both tools for years and have interviewed hundreds of users. So how do Airtable and Coda compare?
Hey there—I’m Noah. I’ve been using both Airtable and Coda for the last four years. In that time, I’ve learned the nuances of both tools, and come to understand how their differences can propel teams forward or hold them back. Since joining the Coda team in 2020, I’ve interviewed hundreds of Airtable and Coda users and helped countless companies evaluate these two tools to determine what will work best for their teams.
Airtable is a tool that aims to combine the power of relational databases with the simplicity and familiarity of spreadsheets. It was founded in 2012 after their founders noticed teams using spreadsheets as a haphazard storage solution for data when really they should have been using a database. Airtable has evolved over the years, now helping users build custom, low-code applications on top of Airtable’s databases. Coda launched in public beta in 2019 as a new type of all-in-one doc designed to help your team consolidate knowledge, collaborate in real time, and replace countless other tools. It combines the best of a flexible doc surface with the power of inline, relational databases.
My goal with this doc is to provide a comprehensive comparison so that you can make a more informed decision on which tool is best for your team. As I’ve done in some of my other comparisons, I will outline the key categories I’ve seen teams consider when evaluating these tools. I’ll overview each criteria on this page and then dive deeper into each in the pages that follow. Some of the detail pages are still under construction, but you can expect updates coming soon. Let’s get started!

1. Use cases: The four common ways Coda and Airtable are used.

Airtable and Coda have two very different starting points. Airtable starts in a “base,” short for database, while Coda starts in a doc. Bases look and feel like a familiar spreadsheet, while Coda’s experience starts with a familiar, intuitive, text-based doc surface. While there’s much more under the hood, these two starting points help set the stage for what each tool can be used for.
When teams compare these products, the first question they almost always ask is, “How can we use each tool?” But since these products have a wide range of applications, it can be difficult to find common categorizations of use cases. From my experience working with hundreds of teams who use Coda and Airtable, though, we can break down their use cases into four broad categories:
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An open canvas to draft project proposals, PRDs, design docs, quarterly retrospectives, etc.
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A central home for your team to collect knowledge, take notes, make decisions, connect external data, and more.
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Keep track of ongoing projects, triage bugs, calculate budgets, etc.
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Build end-to-end workflows like OKRs, CRMs, spend analyzers, etc., that serve as internal applications.
Airtable’s strength is in working with structured data—it was built to be a user-friendly database after all. But this focus on structured data means that and can often feel like afterthoughts. In my experience, though, most structured data use cases still require some amount of unstructured data (like a description for each project in your task tracker or the listing information for each item in your catalogue).
As a result, teams who run on Airtable are forced to use additional tools like Google Docs alongside their bases. For example, I’ve seen dozens of teams use Airtable as a sales CRM, but accounts plans that detail meeting notes, RFPs, contract negotiations, etc.—always live in a separate doc-based tool.
Thinking more about and —what you might think of as Airtable’s bread and butter—it’s clear that Airtable’s ability to develop low-code web apps is very attractive, particularly to technical users. This can come with a steep learning curve, though, so I’ll touch on that later on.
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Coda can generally match Airtable ability to handle robust structured use cases—the functionality in Coda’s tables is very similar to the functionality in Airtable’s bases. But when you pair Coda’s relational databases with it doc-based interface, Coda is clearly a more holistic tool.
While both Airtable and Coda can support a variety of powerful use cases, only Coda can function well across all four categories outlined above. For example, you can do things like hosting your weekly standup or building your team’s wiki in Coda, but would never consider doing so in Airtable. In my experience with the two tools, Airtable is often an alternative to other project tracking or low-code tools, while Coda tends to consolidate both structured and unstructured tools—Airtable included.
The bottom line is that Airtable is best for handling structured use cases like trackers, databases, and even low-code applications. But be aware that you may need additional tools to complete the job or technical skills to get your app up and running. Coda provides one platform to achieve a wide variety of scenarios, big and small, structured and unstructured.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

2. Organization & discoverability: Similar models for storing your information.

Airtable and Coda follow similar organizational models that can be thought of as a collection of content hubs, though there are a few notable differences. The main benefit of a hub model (as opposed to a traditional wiki model) is that your entire organization sits under one workspace with projects, teams, etc., separated into different bases or docs. Since content is necessarily organized by some grouping factor, like team or project, information is much easier to find than in sprawling, unstructured wiki.
Airtable lets you add unlimited tables in each base, including synced tables from other bases and data from other tools, like Salesforce, for instance. However, because of its interface, Airtable restricts what you can store inside your base, while Coda allows you to bring anything—text, tables, integrated data, and even other tools like Figma, Miro, and more.
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Airtable and Coda also differ on organization at the workspace level. Despite many requests from the community (
), Airtable doesn’t have workspace folders, which can make it frustrating for larger teams to find the base they’re looking for. For example, I’ve seen teams use Google Docs to organize and describe all of their Airtable bases to make wayfinding easier. To me, that’s crazy! Using a separate tool to bring organization to another.
Coda, by contrast, allows you to organize your docs into workspace folders for further grouping of content. In your workspace home, also called the doc list, you can see across all of your docs, or if you’re already in a doc, you can leverage universal search to navigate to a different doc (filtering by owner, folder, and other properties).
Coda’s hub model also has a unique concept called “multi-homing” which comes to life through features like and . Multi-homing means that a page or table in one doc can live in multiple other docs at once, so you don’t have to answer the question, “Where should this live?” before you get started or, what’s even worse, copy/paste between docs. Airtable sync is Airtable’s version of Cross-doc, however, two-way sync is only available in its two highest paid plans.
Ready to learn more? Hold tight—a detailed comparison is coming soon!

3. Features: Comparing Airtable and Coda’s capabilities.

Airtable and Coda have relatively different superpowers because of their different starting paradigms. As I’ve done in other comparisons, let’s group the feature set into unstructured and structured data to make this comparison easier to understand.
Unstructured data: Rich collaborative canvases where you can write and format text, add quotes, callouts, collapsed sections, and more.
Structured data: Powerful tables that act like databases, where each row is an entry, and each column defines a specific property of those entries. Columns can be formatted as text, numbers, dates, select lists, references to people, and much more.
Given its table-based interface, Airtable’s bread-and-butter is structured data. Robust relational databases underpin Airtable’s bases, making databases, project trackers, and the back-end applications easy.
Coda generally matches Airtable’s rich capabilities when it comes to structured data. In addition to the basics like connected tables, visualizations, and a deep integration library, Coda has its own formula language (think Excel, but easier) that lets you build powerful workflows around your data without custom scripting, third-party Zapier integrations, or expensive add-ons with services like Softr, miniExtensions, and Stackr ().
Speaking of powerful workflows, it’s important to mention automations. Airtable and Coda are roughly on par with their respective automation builders. But one caveat is that Airtable only permits a certain number of pre-built actions and an even smaller number of integration actions, whereas Coda is much more flexible. Coda lets you leverage thousands of Pack actions through automations, so you aren’t constrained to a few tools that Airtable has selected. This can be especially powerful when combined with Coda AI.
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Coda is head and shoulders above Airtable when it comes to unstructured data and collaboration. With Coda’s flexible canvas, you have a familiar place to add text, tables, images, embeds, and more. Plus, you can have Coda AI help create, edit and review your content. Coda also has a canvas column type that let you add these unstructured elements neatly into a structured table. Ultimately, this means you almost always have the right tool for the job, and can get started quickly without having to consider using a different tool.
Coda also lets you collaborate live with your team in your doc through inline editing, suggested changes, and other interface components like buttons, reactions, sliders, and more that Airtable doesn’t offer.
Ready to learn more? Check out the page.

4. Integrations: Plugging into your other tools and data sources.

It’s almost certain that whether you choose Airtable or you choose Coda, you will still need additional tooling for your organization. To create a true single source of truth, you need to connect all of your information together.
Airtable has two options for integrating your tools with their platform. You can sync data into Airtable through the 34 out-of-the-box integrations made available to you, or you can use one of their many “partner extensions” which add functionality to your basse through a utility or partner’s service.
Coda has over —Coda’s version of integrations and extensions—available for you to choose from. Packs can sync data from your other apps, take action, and even send updates back to the respective service through two-way sync. For example, instead of switching between tabs to update a Jira issue or a Salesforce opportunity, you can make changes in Coda and seamlessly push the update back to the respective app.
Coda also has the unique concept of , which allow you to turn a page in your doc into virtually any external tool. I’ve seen teams who use Airtable and Coda in tandem leverage full-page embeds to keep their Coda team hub and their Airtable tracker in one place, but you can add in hundreds of other tools like Amplitude, Figma, Miro, and more.
Airtable has strict limitations when it comes to two-way sync. For example, Airtable’s sync tables with apps like Salesforce are read-only, meaning you can’t make changes and seamlessly push updates back to Salesforce like you can in Coda. Instead, you need to to update the records in Salesforce or pay for an outside vendor like Unito. Another constraint of these integrations is the lack of compatibility with Airtable AI. Because sync tables are read-only, you can’t use Airtable AI to help keep your CRM updated, for example. Whereas Coda AI can help summarize meeting notes for you to send back to Salesforce.
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Airtable and Coda both allow you to create custom integrations through their public API and SDK. You’ll likely need a developer to assist you in creating your Airtable integration, whereas Coda’s Pack Studio requires less technical expertise. The Pack Studio makes it simple to build, test, and share new integrations in a way that is simpler than building an external API-based integration. The Pack Studio also removes many of the security concerns we typically hear, since all integrations are run in a secure sandbox that curtails nefarious behavior.
Ready to learn more? Hold tight—a detailed comparison is coming soon!

5. Ease of use: What works and what doesn’t.

When deciding between tools, you want to make sure that it’s easy to use for everyone in your organization, so that as your team grows, new team members can get started without needing hands-on training. It can be easy to overlook the details when purchasing a new tool, but small paper cuts compound over time, making a tool a joy–or a pain–to live with.
Coda is often described as having a “low floor” and a “high ceiling,” meaning it’s pretty easy to get started with but it can also handle really powerful use cases. From personal experience with Airtable, I’ve found that it has more of a “medium floor” and a similar “high ceiling.” While it can undeniably handle powerful use cases, Airtable does have a substantial learning curve. Non-technical teams in particular tend to notice that its table-based interface isn’t as intuitive, especially for those who aren’t spreadsheet lovers.
There are three clear areas that make Airtable frustrating to use:
Steep learning curve: Like I mentioned, Airtable can take a while for new users to grow accustomed to. Because of its high ceiling, Airtable can feel like it’s geared toward technical users. “” is one of the top reasons people dislike Airtable according to G2. it well: Airtable “can take time and energy to learn. It is not easy to build...without some experience.”
Collaboration: Airtable was designed to store and handle data better than traditional spreadsheets, but it was never intended to be a hub for live collaboration. Airtable’s collaboration features are akin to—if not behind—Google Sheets. It lacks basic collaboration features like live cursor view, buttons, reactions, and more.
Spreadsheet interface: Sometimes, the right tool for every job isn’t a spreadsheet or rigid app interface. Teams often feel that Airtable’s interface forces them into a table when the best tool for their meeting notes, brainstorming, or weekly one-on-ones is a doc. While you can use long text fields to fill this gap, you don’t get the aforementioned collaboration features that make this scenario shine. Workarounds stretch the purpose of Airtable and makes for a lackluster user experience for you and your team. Otherwise, you’ll need to use other doc-based tools like Google Docs and connect the dots later by manually linking between the two tools.
The differences between Airtable and Coda are stark when you look at “quick start” and collaborative use cases. If you expect to onboard more teammates to this tool or leverage this tool to “run your team,” it’s critical to understand the differences in the user experience.
Ready to learn more? Hold tight—a detailed comparison is coming soon!

6. Scalability: Maintaining security, performance, and usability as your organization grows.

Security, performance, reliability, and the level of support your team receives matter more and more as your team scales. Airtable and Coda both position themselves for enterprise teams, but there are a few differences that you should be aware of in these key categories.
Security: Both Airtable and Coda have comparable security credentials and provide similar security restrictions. Both platforms have made significant investments in essential security measures and IT features, such as SSO (Single Sign-On) and SOC 2 compliance. Additionally, they both offer administrative controls and APIs that allow for the management of enterprise-level usage.
Performance: Comparing the performance of Airtable and Coda is admittedly hard given their different capabilities. One question that I often get asked in our Airtable vs. Coda webinars is how many rows Coda can handle in comparison to Airtable. Airtable’s team plan has a limit of 50k rows and the enterprise plan claims to support 500k rows. Very rarely are people actually storying 50k rows in a table, but those that are report It’s also worth noting that “
” is one of the most frequently mentioned Airtable cons on G2. Depending on the data you’re storing, Coda can easily reach 100k rows on any plan, but you can store even more with simple data and a good schema. Otherwise, Coda performs very well in the tens of thousands of rows.
Reliability: Airtable and Coda traditionally have strong uptimes, although it seems that Airtable has experienced some short outages over the past year, which you can see on their . For visibility, you can review the as well.
Support: As your team scales and you onboard new users to your respective tool, unblocking your team with helpful support matters a great deal. Having a designated support team on standby is critical to unblocking your team so they can get back to work. Airtable offers chat and email support, which should respond in one to two days. However, I’ve personally spoke with many teams who are unable to get in contact with Airtable support after weeks of trying. Social threads (
) seem to show this being a broader issue for Airtable. You can compare this to Coda’s help center, which mentions an average turnaround time of one to two hours. Coda offers fast and personal support from a human team in addition to tips and tricks from its online community.
Ready to learn more? Hold tight—a detailed comparison is coming soon!

7. AI: Which work assistant is built for your team?

When deciding on a digital home for your team, you also want to make sure they are investing in innovations that can drive meaningful progress. And no innovation is more important than AI right now. Both Airtable and Coda have AI features, but they can help in very different ways. From what I’ve observed, there are two main differences in their capabilities.
Airtable AI (currently in beta) has two primary limitations. While it can create content in tables, it’s quite limited as a writing assistant, meaning it can’t help you iterate and/or review your writing. That makes sense considering Airtable’s database structure, but since Airtable AI largely generates text, it’s value for structured data is more limited, too.
The other limitation of Airtable AI is that it’s difficult to pull in context from different sources (or tools), especially if the context is found outside of that same row. This limits the value of the generated output, or at best, forces you to copy/paste significantly into the prompt.
Coda AI, on the other hand, is centered around assisting your team in three practical ways:
Writing assistance that acts as an informed, omnipresent AI collaborator (not a separate experience). You can not only draft new content like a blog post, but also get Coda AI’s help iterating, and even reviewing and leaving specific comments.
Knowledge assistance that understands your work (not just what’s on the internet). This means you can ask questions about your doc, such as your company’s vacation policy, or get deeper insights, such as a refreshable summary of why customers prefer a certain option.
Task assistance that can take real action at scale (not just answer questions). You can bring in important context from other tools through Coda’s Packs, layering AI across your workflows. For example, you can create call summaries that get sent to Salesforce, get AI insights about your calendar with the Google Calendar Pack, or draft messages you send via Slack, Teams, or Gmail.
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We’re still in the early innings of AI in the workplace, but both tools seem to be on the cutting edge. Who wins this AI matchup today largely depends on what you’re looking for from a workplace assistant.
Ready to learn more? See the for the full comparison.

8. Cost: How much will each tool cost, or save, your team?

Cost is an all-important criterion when considering Airtable vs. Coda. In the recent 18 months, almost every team I’ve talked to has prioritized cutting expenses due to economic headwinds. This means seeking out less expensive options and trying to streamline their processes by reducing the number of tools they use to combat the common issue of tool sprawl.
In August 2023, Airtable made to its pricing. Most notably, Airtable’s Pro plan (now called Team) had its feature limits cut in half, forcing many teams to upgrade to the Business pricing tier, which cost more than double ($24 vs. $54 per month) the previous plan. While Airtable has not announced it’s AI pricing, it’s reasonable to expect that this will be an additional add-on, while Coda AI is free for all doc makers.
Airtable can likely replace Google Sheets and some other structured project management tools, but candidly, you’re still going to need an unstructured surface to accompany Airtable, if you want to get the job done. Airtable cannot serve as a replacement for your go-to doc surface or team hub.
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Coda on the other hand often helps teams save money in three ways:
Consolidate: Because Coda can address thousands of use cases across , , , and , teams can consolidate their other tools with one—Coda.
A unique billing model: Coda only charges for a fraction of your organization. Coda’s Maker Billing model means that you only pay for those who are making in Coda—editors, commenters, and viewers are always free.
Reduce costly seats: Because of Coda’s Maker Billing model and extensive integrations, you can reduce the number of purchased seats in expensive apps like Salesforce, Asana, Jira, and more.
Ready to learn more? Check out the

That’s the overview, now let’s dig deeper.

Deciding on whether Airtable or Coda is the best option for your team depends on many different factors, like team size, required use cases, budget, and more. Here’s a quick recap before we dive deeper into each section:
: Airtable is great for databases and other structured data needs, but it can’t intuitively handle unstructured data that’s often needed to accompany these use cases. Coda has the rigor to support your databases and structured use cases as well as the docs, writeups, team hubs, and other unstructured use cases across your team.
🕸️ Organization & discoverability (coming soon): Similar approaches with slight nuances. Both Airtable and Coda follow a hub model but Airtable limits what you can put into each base (only additional tables). Coda lets you add anything as a new page in your doc, including data from other tools and interactive embeds of other tools like Figma files, Miro boards, and more.
: The primary difference is in unstructured data. Airtable doesn’t have an unstructured surface that intuitively allows for free-form writing or team collaboration. Coda’s canvas supports formatting features like callouts, text coloring, dynamic referencing, and more.
🎁 Integrations (coming soon): Airtable and Coda offer public APIs to build your own integrations as well as out-of-the-box integrations. Coda’s integrations are more powerful, exemplified by two-way sync functionality. Coda also has over 600 Packs while Airtable has 34 integrations and a number of extensions.
🤙 Ease of use (coming soon): Both take a bit to get the hang of, but Airtable users typically report a steep learning curve, which can be intimidating for those who aren’t spreadsheet lovers. Airtable also doesn’t have modern collaboration capabilities that make it easy to work with your team.
📈 Scalability (coming soon): Both Airtable and Coda have premium security credentials and granular admin controls. Airtable has a stigma of being slow, while Coda has more hands-on, human support when you get stuck.
: It’s still early days, but both tools having native AI features is a plus. Airtable AI is still in beta and is limited in its writing capabilities. Coda AI can help you find the right information, generate content from your data, and connect to your other applications to support your workflows. Coda AI is free for doc makers. Airtable hasn’t announced their pricing but they are gating who gets access to the beta.
: In August 2023, Airtable doubled its pricing while cutting their feature limits in half. Airtable can only serve as a replacement for structured data use cases, whereas Coda can replace hundreds of other tools in your tech stack. Coda’s unique Maker Billing model makes Coda significantly less expensive in price for medium to large-sized teams. Plus, Coda AI is included for doc makers
What’s next? Explore the categories mentioned above, either individually or by clicking on the link below. I sincerely hope you’ve found this helpful. If you’d like to talk directly or provide feedback on something I’ve missed, you can reach me at .


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